State and local officials joined executives from Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ: ALGT) today as the company announced plans to establish a two-aircraft base at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Allegiant's growth plans in the state include creating at least 66 new, high-wage jobs. As part of today's presentation, the company also announced service to two new cities – Nashville, Tennessee and Savannah, Georgia.
The Las Vegas-based company is investing more than $42 million to establish its new base of operations, which will house two Airbus aircraft. The company, which focuses on linking travelers in small-to-medium cities to world-class leisure destinations, plans to begin its base operations at Gerald R. Ford International Airport on June 4, 2019.
Recently ranked among the nation's fastest growing economies and best places to start a business, the Grand Rapids area is currently experiencing an unprecedented surge in capital development. Home to world-renowned art, museums and historic sites, as well as recreation opportunities from golf to beaches, the region is also increasingly drawing visitors to its vibrant downtowns and unique neighborhoods.
Today, Allegiant serves 11 non-stop routes from the state of Michigan, including flights from Grand Rapids and Flint.
New seasonal service from Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) announced today includes:
- Nashville, Tennessee via Nashville International Airport (BNA) – beginning June 6, 2019 with fares as low as $49.*
- Savannah, Georgia via Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) – beginning June 7, 2019 with fares as low as $49.*
The new seasonal routes will operate twice weekly. Flight days, times and the lowest fares can be found only at Allegiant.com.
"Grand Rapids has been a great city for Allegiant, with solid demand and steady growth over the years," said Keith Hansen, vice president of government affairs for Allegiant. "It's a perfect location for a permanent base, where having locally-based aircraft and crews will open a world of opportunity to expand options for both new service and operational hours. This will make travel even more convenient and affordable for both residents and visitors to the area, and further establish Allegiant as a hometown airline for Grand Rapids."
Allegiant began operating at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in 2009 and with today's announcement now offers nine non-stop routes – to Las Vegas; Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona; to five cities in Florida: Tampa/St. Pete, Punta Gorda/Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando/Sanford and Sarasota/Bradenton; and seasonal service to Nashville and Savannah beginning in June. Allegiant currently carries more than 300,000 annual passengers through Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids will become the airline's 16th aircraft base, which will allow Allegiant to expand its service to and from the city, offer more new non-stop routes in the future, and further connect Grand Rapids businesses, residents and visitors to destinations around the world.
"Allegiant's decision to open a base at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is a big win for the region, and will have a ripple effect through our economy beyond the initial jobs and investment," said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. and member of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority Board. "It speaks to the strength of our growing airport, which is critical for companies doing business in West Michigan and beyond."
Allegiant, which employs more than 4,000 team members across the U.S., plans to immediately begin hiring pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and ground personnel to support the operations. The majority of the new positions are expected to offer salaries that are more than double the state's average wage. Interested applicants may apply online.
"Today's announcement would not have been possible without the support of key state and local agencies and partners," said Hansen. "We'd like to thank both the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and The Right Place, as well as our long-term partners at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority – their total team effort put us in a perfect position for a successful base."
"Michigan's economy continues to soar ahead, and Allegiant Air's decision to expand here rather than in other states underscores the strength of our business environment and talented workforce. We thank Allegiant for expanding its presence at GRR and for recognizing Grand Rapids' attractiveness as a place to do business," said Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC, the state's chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund. "We're pleased to collaborate with our local partners and support this investment, which will not only mean good jobs for our residents but will also bring more convenient, affordable flight options to Michigan travelers."
"Echoing our community partners, the team here at GRR is excited that Allegiant has made the decision to establish a base at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport," said Brian Picardat, interim president & CEO, Gerald R. Ford International Airport. "This will bring additional jobs to West Michigan and more travel options for passengers. Thank you to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and The Right Place for their assistance in bringing this base to Grand Rapids."
*About the introductory fares:
Price displayed reflects purchase of a round-trip itinerary and includes taxes, carrier charges & government fees. Seats and dates are limited and fares are not available on all flights. Flights must be purchased by Jan. 16, 2019 for travel by Aug. 13, 2019. Fare rules, routes and schedules are subject to change without notice. Optional baggage charges and additional restrictions may apply.
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